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Maori Affairs, Treaty & Electoral Law policies

John Key MP National Party Leader

28 September 2008

Maori Affairs, Treaty & Electoral Law policies released

Realising Maori aspiration is the aim of National's Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations policies released today by National Party Leader John Key.

National also released its Electoral Law policy today.

"Maori view the Treaty of Waitangi as under-pinning their development, laying the blueprint for economic independence, and a relationship with the Crown based on mutual respect and a common purpose," says Mr Key.

"The Treaty envisages all New Zealanders moving forward together, with a shared commitment to the future.

"I share that vision. National is committed to seeing all Maori enjoying a brighter and more prosperous future."

Highlights of our Maori Affairs policy are:

* Putting a big focus on investment in education, including national standards, trades in schools, our Youth Guarantee, promoting greater participation in early childhood education through Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa, and expanding Te Kotahitanga.

* Improving health and housing outcomes for Maori, including working with Maori health providers and Maori collectives on housing.

* Working to increase investment in Maori assets and enterprises, including working with iwi enterprises and their leaders to help overcome barriers to economic development.

* Acknowledging the importance of Maori language and culture, including committing to Maori broadcasting and the promotion of Maori language, arts and culture.

* Working with Te Puni Kokiri to strengthen and expand successful and proven Maori-led programmes to advance outcomes for Maori.

"The settlement of historic Treaty grievances is very important to the National Party.

"National's record in the Treaty area in government in the 1990s is a proud one.

"National intends to devote fresh energy and leadership to advancing Treaty settlements, and aims to achieve just and durable settlements of all historic Treaty claims by 2014.

"Linked to the settlement of historic Treaty claims is our policy on the Maori seats. At the conclusion of the settlement of historic Treaty claims, National will begin a constitutional process to abolish the Maori seats. National wishes to see all New Zealanders on the same electoral roll."

Highlights of National's Treaty Negotiations policy are:

* Appointing independent settlement facilitators to chair negotiations, keep the process moving forward, and ensure both parties act in good faith. * More effective post-settlement liaison to ensure durable settlements and an end to Treaty litigation.

* Refine the claim negotiation process.

* Review the impact of increases in prices, and in particular land prices, on Treaty settlements.

* Give the Waitangi Tribunal enough support to sit full-time including reviewing remuneration and support offered to members, review the tribunal's operations, and review the Crown's conduct in litigation.

* Speed up the time taken to pass settlement legislation.

"National will also honour agreements negotiated in good faith by the Crown under the Foreshore and Seabed Act."

The Electoral Law policy:

* Confirms National's intention to wind up the Maori seats at the conclusion of the settlement of historic Treaty claims. * Hold a binding referendum on MMP no later than 2011. * Repeal the Electoral Finance Act.

Mr Key says New Zealanders have had to wait long enough for a chance to have their say on MMP.

"The referendum will give people a choice between retaining MMP without any further consideration or having a further vote on MMP alongside another electoral system or systems.

"National will also repeal the draconian and unworkable Electoral Finance Act, while ensuring transparency around donations remains. We will reform electoral law through a process that involves all parliamentary parties, and the public."

ENDS

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